April 4, 2022

Delco Moraine Caliper Deep Dive

1965 was the first year for disc brakes on the Corvette, in fact '65 was the year that most GM vehicles were first offered with discs. The OE Delco Moraine calipers featured 4 pistons with lip seals to keep the brake fluid from leaking out.

When working correctly, these brakes do their job very well, however they are prone to leaks which can significantly (and dangerously) reduce braking performance. Many Corvette owners have had their calipers rebuilt with o-ring seals and stainless steel bores, but this is no guarantee of reliable, long-term performance.

There were 3 different Delco Moraine caliper designs used from 65-82, each having different casting numbers. All 3 caliper designs are interchangeable, so many early cars may now have later calipers fitted. Original, 'First Design' 1965 calipers would have a casting number starting with #546.

First Design: 1965 – 1966 (and some very early '67s)
Front: Left #5465954; Right #5465952 – Rear: Left #5465902; Right #5465905

Second Design: 1967 – 1971 (and some very early '72s)
Front: Left #5452270; Right #5452273 – Rear: Left #5452281; Right #5452284

Third Design:  1972 – 1982 (the most common calipers)
Front: Left #5473795; Right #5473796 – Rear: Left #5473806; Right #5473807

It was common practice to exchange old caliper cores for rebuilt cores. The calipers that were fitted to the Red Rocket (pictured below) were purchased by owner Galen Dae from Carter's Corvette Parts in Livermore CA in 1991, and he handed over the original calipers in exchange. A receipt for this transaction is included in the car's history file.

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The calipers and dust shields pictured above were removed from the front of the Red Rocket when the Wilwood brakes were fitted. The calipers have the casting numbers #5473796 and #5452270, which makes them a mix of Second and Third Design (refer table above). One of the calipers uses a #5473796 casting on one half and #5452270 on the other — so a single caliper is made up of parts from different designs! The dust shields are correct and, given that the brakes discs were still riveted on, almost certainly original. They have the correct OE GM part numbers stamps (3864117 and 3864118).

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